Thursday, September 8, 2011

My Personal Path to Publication - Gracen Miller

As promised, (or is it warned?) I offer up the unapologetic Gracen Miller to my followers today. And as you will see, from quite humble beginnings, this world class spicy romantic writer offers no excuses as she proceeds to take her readers on the literary rides of their lives.  Her most recent project, aptly titled the Road to Hell series, is indicative of the kind of writer Gracen is: bold, brash, with just the right amount of human nature, and injected with a dash of adventure and stubborn surrealism. Her thrilling reads are always tightly wound by excitement and hardly contained by the words and worlds she effortlessly creates.  She always leaves the reader breathless and panting for more.  I'm sure her personal story will do the same.

1.   How long have you been writing?

It seems like forever. Even before being bitten by the writing bug, I was crafting worlds in my head, and acting out daydreams. I just didn’t realize I was mental writing. My official writing debut came when my sixth grade English teacher, Mrs. S., gave us a writing assignment for homework. Like everyone else in the class, I groaned and complained about having to use my imagination.  I couldn't imagine the complexity of such a difficult assignment or from where I would retrieve the inspiration to come up with something halfway decent.  I dragged my feet that afternoon stepping out of the car and entering my mother's workplace where I spent every afternoon in the office where she worked doing homework. 

I sat down at that desk unknowing my life was about to take a dramatic turn.  I took up pen and paper, thinking how much I hated English and disliked Mrs. S for issuing such a stupid assignment.  I looked out the window and stared at the well-manicured Golf Course (my mother worked at the local Country Club as a waitress), with a certainty darkening my heart that I would fail this project miserably and my mother would be furious.  Surprised, an idea quickly rose in my mind about Atlantis rising from the ocean and its inhabitants harnessing supernatural powers.  And, of course, along with those supernatural powers the Atlantians concocted an evil plan to take over the world…what else do you do with supernatural powers, right?  LOL  With gusto I wrote a poorly crafted "play", but I was excited by the detail illuminating in my mind. 

The next day all of our stories were read out loud in class.  I fidgeted and worried to the point of nausea that everyone would laugh at my story.  No one laughed, but sat as silent as church mice listening with interest as I read it.  Mrs. S took a paper vote at the end of class on the three favorite stories and mine was one of the three, which meant the next day I had to pick individuals to play the parts of my characters and have my play acted out in front of the entire classroom.  Wow!  Not only had I enjoyed the assignment, but apparently all of my peers loved it too!  Talk about mind-blowing to an 11 year old! Much like a drug, writing dug its claws into me and I have been forever addicted.

2.   Are you published and if so, how long have you been a published author?  If not, what’s your plan?

Yes, I am e-published. My first e-book released in April 2008, but that publishing house has since closed and the book is no longer available. My next novel, Elfin Blood, was released in October 2009 with Noble Romance Publishing, and my latest two, Fairy Casanova and Pandora’s Box, were released this year by Decadent Publishing.

3.   Which route did you choose for becoming published, the traditional route, with an agent, the “indie” route, going directly to the publishers yourself, or deciding to self-publish?

I opted to go straight to the publishers myself. With e-publishing I just didn’t see the need for an agent and with a lot of e-publishers putting books into print as well, it’s the best of both worlds and us authors aren’t required to share our measly profits with an agent.

4.   Why did you choose that particular route?

I lost faith in NY’s ability to publish what I love to read a while back. Also, I’m an e-book whore and I’ve discovered many authors that I adore, but NY wouldn’t take a chance on their story. I also read e-book authors that were later picked up by NY once they realized what they’d overlooked. Also, the e-book industry is growing faster than print, so it seemed wiser to make my name in e-book before I lost the chance in the tide of names.

5.   How long did it take you to write your first novel?

It’s been so long since I wrote The Devil’s Den I can’t remember the writing timeline. Fairy Casanova is a short spicy read and took only a couple of days to write. Elfin Blood and Pandora’s Box took about six months, while the sequel to Pandora’s Box (not yet contracted) took me only two months to write. But it doesn’t matter the length it takes to write a book—some flow quicker than others—but, rather the quality of work produced.

6.   How long did it take you to publish it?

The Devil’s Den—no longer available—was rejected several times before it was contracted. I’d actually given up on publishing it when I received the call that the e-publisher wanted to contract it. Elfin Blood was accepted with the first submission and took about four months before it was published. Fairy Casanova took about the same amount of time, but from the time of contract to publication, it was ten months before Pandora’s Box was released. However, it is the longest story I’ve written, so the edits were more extensive.

7.   How many times did it get rejected before it got published?

The Devil’s Den was rejected several times by NY before the rise of paranormal romance. In fact the last rejection I received on it was in 1997, right after my first son was born. I set it aside for about ten years and dedicated my life to my family, my sons and husband, while working my paralegal job. Then I became a domestic deity and everything changed, I was able to refocus on my first dream—becoming a published author. I spent countless late nights revamping The Devil’s Den before submitting it to e-book publishers—no NY for me this time. So, it took a decade before it hit the market in 2008.

Elfin Blood and Fairy Casanova were accepted upon their first submission. I sent Pandora’s Box to a couple of places simultaneously and it was rejected once, before it was contracted with Decadent. Pandora’s Box was rejected based upon the horror elements in it. I was told by that particular publisher that their readers wouldn’t purchase a book like this. My opinion…it’s their loss, not mine, because readers are eating it up and the reviews are spectacular. People I’ve never met are friending me on Facebook to tell me how great Pandora’s Box is and that they can’t wait for book two to release.

8.   Tell us about worst rejection letter.

My worst rejection was when I submitted The Devil’s Den to NY—back before e-books were in business and before paranormal romance had hit the market with any popularity. One of the publishing houses sent me a letter back and told me I should write something people would actually read because there wasn’t a market for what I wrote. Before that all my NY rejections were the standard form letter. I’ve always been a paranormal fan and a romance reader, so I couldn’t understand why readers wouldn’t want to read a mixture of the two genres. NY has since proven that their statement to me was very wrong. I still have the rejection letter! I wonder if that editor is still working at that house. LOL  I have always felt certain that if I wrote something I would enjoy reading, then there was a market out there for it. 

9.   What was the best news you ever got in your writing life and how did it make you feel?

The best news was that first “we want to publish it” I ever received. There aren’t enough words to describe how it made me feel. I was excited, floating on Cloud Nine for weeks, but overwhelmed too because I didn’t know what to expect. But I was willing to learn. I’m still learning.

10.  What’s the worst piece of advice you ever got?

Worst advice would have had to be from the NY publisher that told me to write something folks would read, rather than what I loved to write.

11. Now, tell us the best!

Don’t lose your unique voice during the editing process!  This can be easy to do, but sometimes it becomes necessary to fight for your story. Editors aren’t always right and if you have a valid reason for something in your storyline, then tell them! Their job is to make the story better, not alter it to their preference or what feels safer for them. If they’re a great editor—all of mine have been awesome and eager to listen—then they’ll discuss your stance and work with you to see your vision.

12. What’s the one thing you would want an aspiring writer to take away from your personal path to publication?

Writing isn’t something I do because it’s easy. It’s hard work, and takes lots of dedication. Readers don’t understand that and sometimes neither do writers. Everything I craft is “written from the soul”, like tiny pieces of myself, and become my babies. I had those quoted words tattooed on my back shoulder because it defines me as a writer and a person. Also, regardless of what you write, never ever let someone take your dream away from you! They don’t deserve that much power over you. Your dreams are important and just because someone doesn’t share your dream, it doesn’t make yours less important. Family members have discouraged me from writing what I love and it’s wrong of them! One final thing…develop thick skin because readers can be heartless sometimes, but never whine about a bad review. I’ve seen authors ruin their career because they couldn’t take the criticism.

Wow! That was more than you asked for. LOL

13. Where can we read your blog?  Buy your books?  Connect with you on facebook?  On Twitter?  Your website?

Where you can stalk me—not really!—but I would love to meet and interact with you:

Pandora’s Box Buy Links:


Pandora’s Box Blurb:

Where does the road to Hell begin?

What happens when your son turns homicidal overnight and your husband disappears on his way to work? Do you cower in fear or fight for your life? Madison Wescott fights against the odds. Distrustful of a God she doesn't believe in, she finds herself face-to-face with a world she didn't know existed and discovers her own soul is darkened with demonic connections.

With good intentions? Or by demonic design?

Phoenix Birmingham bursts into Madison’s life in a whirlwind of sarcasm and sexual appeal. A hero for the masses—and for her jaded heart—but few will ever know the sacrifices he has made or the sacrifices to come. Discovering her entire life has been influenced by multifaceted paranormal beings, Madison is determined to defeat the apocalyptic blueprint fate has decreed, but only one man dares to challenge the supernatural forces manipulating them. Even with Phoenix's aid, can destiny be denied? Or will demonic design prevail while they pay the crucial price with their souls?

In a small, sleepy Alabama town the battle for mankind's liberty has begun...

Since Gracen was so wonderful to provide her beautiful photo, I couldn't let the opportunity to introduce her to her fans slip by.  Thank you, Gracen, for sharing your story and your lovely self to my readers.  I hope you all get the chance to friend her and become new fans of her work!  She is truly a gifted, talented writer and a sweet soul.


  1. Thanks Gracen that was informative. I am trying to figure out my path at this moment and it is by far the hardest thing I have done. Well raising a kid is pretty hard, but this like having a baby. Love xoxo

  2. Lots of good advise. I wonder if NY realizes their loss not publishing your book.

  3. NY should be KICKING THEIR OWN HINEY for real! They missed a serious gem by passing you up Gracen!!!

  4. Aww...S.E. & Mindy, y'all are too sweet! I'm happy with my publisher, so NY's loss, not mine!

    Pimpin Reads, my books are like my babies. I've put a lot of hard work into them, I've had many sleepless nights because of them, I've worried over them, I've groomed them over and over again (writing and edits) and I'll always be antsy to hear what people think. It's not any easier from the first book to the last.


  5. Well I'm glad that Decadent accepted PB...ITS AWESOME. I'm not sure what the other publisher was thinking but all my bookie friends are lovers of just that type of thing.

  6. Hi Gracen! Thanks for sharing all the great advice! It's true, don't allow anyone to take your dream. Looking so forward to more from you. :)